Countryside Kids

MISSION: Countryside's ministry to children and youth is an inclusive community building lifelong Christians who gather together, grow in their faith, and go into the world.


CORE VALUES:

  • Leadership: Preparing to be bold change-makers in the community
  • Acceptance: An inclusive community, welcoming all children and youth
  • Faith: Continually growing as a follower of Jesus
  • Grace: Loved and valued by God no matter what
  • Relationship: We have fun with friends while building respectful connections with self, peers, and adults.
  • Safety: We diligently attend to the physical and emotional safety of all who gather in our church community.

Learn more below about Countryside Kids, including our Sunday morning & Wednesday night programs, worship, and our current safety & health guidelines.


Interested in volunteering in Children's Ministry? Contact Becky Ericson to join our Countryside Kids Crew.

More information regarding our Safe Gatherings Policy can be found here.


Contact Becky Ericson, Children's Ministry Coordinator for more information.

Our Children's Ministries

Newborn - age 5

From 9:15am-noon, Sunday morning child care is available for newborn through age five in room 116 of the education wing. Please be sure to stop at the check-in area first before bringing children to the nursery. Nursery/childcare restarts in February!

Sunday School Groups

Children's Sunday Small Groups (Sunday School) for preschool through grade 5 meet at 9:30 and small groups for grades 1-5 meet at 11am. Groups meet from September through most of June. Small Groups are taking a 2 week break for the rest of January. We look forward to meeting again in February!. Learn more below!

Wednesday Night for kids

During the school year, children in 1st - 5th grade are invited to join the fun Wednesdays nights, with worship and group games from 6-6:15, bells and Bible story rotations from 6:15-7:15, and group games/gathering from 7:15-7:30. Wednesdays for Kids will kick off in February!

special events & family ministry

Countryside offers a variety of special events and family opportunities. Bitty Bells is a special bell ringing opportunity for our preschool friends (starting back up sometime after mid-February). Subscribe to our Countryside Kids newsletter or follow us on Facebook to keep up on the latest news and opportunities!

Worshipping with Children

For children in worship with their families, children are able to create their own worship bag to use in the sanctuary with coloring pages, toys and books to look at during worship.  Special worship bulletins that tie into the day’s sermon are also available for students in preschool-6th grade. Children’s messages are offered at all services (currently by video). Children and youth in 3rd grade and up may serve as acolytes (candle lighters) at the 11am service.


We also offer a special Family Worship Room along the main sanctuary hall. This room streams the worship service and offers rocking chairs and comfortable seating for parents, along with toys, books and a small slide for children who need to move during worship. Additionally, our fellowship area includes a coffee bar with a variety of options (including hot cocoa) and another seating area where the 9:30 and 11am services are streamed.


Changing tables are available in restrooms throughout the facility, including both the men's and women's restrooms outside the sanctuary.

SUNDAY MORNING CHILDCARE


Countryside United Methodist Church offers Child Care for our youngest disciples, children ages 6 weeks through 5 years old. These services are provided on Sunday mornings from 9:15-noon and for some weeknight activities. Care is provided by our trained and certified staff who want to share God's love to the highest degree as they care for your children in a safe, warm, welcoming environment. CHILDCARE will not be available for the last 2 weeks of January. We look forward to resuming in February!

 

WHAT TO EXPECT: When bringing your children to childcare, please stop first at our Children's Check-In Area just outside the education wing (look for the big "CHILDREN" on the wall in that area). If you are visiting for the first time, be sure to check in with a phone number that will be accessible, as our staff will use your check-in for contact information should they need to reach you.


Once checked in, take your child to Room 116 (lower level of the education wing, last room on the right) where our childcare staff will be ready to welcome you. Please make sure any diaper bags or essential items your child needs are labeled. Please keep your phones on vibrate so that our staff can reach you if necessary. When worship or Sunday School concludes, please pick up your child from Room 116. We also request a full registration form be completed annually for any children participating in Countryside Kids programming. The link to this form is below.


CHILDCARE OUTSIDE OF SUNDAY MORNINGS: If not already provided during your group's meeting time, please request child care by submitting this form. Requests must be submitted at least 2 weeks prior to the meeting or event.

 

PLEASE NOTE: This form is only for Countryside UMC Church events. Visit the

 Countryside Child Development Center for inquiries and further information about weekday childcare and preschool opportunities.


Register for Countryside Kids HERE

SUnday SMall Groups from 9:30-10:30, Ages 3 - 5th Grade

Small Groups for ages 3 years - 5th/6th grade meet  on Sundays from 9:30-10:30 (first Sunday after Labor Day through mid to late June).

**ALL SMALL GROUPS AT COUNTRYSIDE ARE TAKING A 2 WEEK BREAK. WE LOOK FORWARD TO RESTARTING IN FEBRUARY! 


Children 3 years through 5th grade are invited to join Sunday Small Groups from 9:30-10:30. 


Plan to check your student in at our check-in area outside the education wing upon arrival at Countryside. Please note, this is new technology and we are still getting everything installed, so at times we may need to revert to paper check in. Once ready, there will also be an app to check in your child while driving to church. We will post details and a video when it is ready for use!


Once checked in, preschool/kindergarten students head to Room 107 in the education wing where their classroom leaders will guide them in a Bible story, age-appropriate activities and/or crafts, and free play time. For the winter/spring semester of 2022, this group may combine with our childcare group and meet in Room 116. Notes will be posted near the entrance to the Education Wing or on the door to Room 107 if the class has moved for that week. Parents/guardians should plan to drop off and pick up children from these rooms.


Once checked in, elementary students head to the sanctuary to participate in opening worship.. Students may sit with their parents or sit in the front pews with Countryside Kids Crew. Experiencing worship is important for this age group and there is developing research that indicates children are more likely to stay with their faith when they are older if they observe and participate in worship with a parent/guardian. After the children's message, all students will leave and head to their Sunday Small Groups. To start 2022, all small groups will meet in the big gathering room of the education wing (Room 210). During small group time, students will follow a monthly theme where we engage in a Bible story through a variety of activities and crafts. Parents and guardians should plan to pick students up from these rooms at 10:30


SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT KINDERGARTEN AND SIXTH GRADE: 

Families of kindergarten students may choose between our early childhood small group or our early elementary small group. The preschool room includes developmentally appropriate lessons and free play time - perfect for students with lots of energy and creativity. The 1st-3rd grade room will be more structured, with fun games and crafts to reinforce the Bible story.


We are currently in the process of transition 6th grade to our youth program. We encourage 6th grade students to join in and get to know other students their age in youth group, but always welcome those who feel more comfortable spending an additional year in the elementary programming.


If you have not completed a registration form for this year, please complete one prior to attending your first Wednesdays for Kids or Sunday Small Group.

Register for Countryside Kids HERE

Sunday SMall Groups from 11:00-noon, 1st-5th Grade

Students in 1st- 5th grade are invited to join Sunday Small Groups from 9:30-10:30 (first Sunday after Labor Day through mid to late June).

**ALL SMALL GROUPS AT COUNTRYSIDE ARE TAKING A 2 WEEK BREAK. WE LOOK FORWARD TO RESTARTING IN FEBRUARY!  


Plan to check your student in at our check-in area outside the education wing upon arrival at Countryside. Please note, this is new technology and we are still getting everything installed, so at times we may need to revert to paper check in. Once ready, there will also be an app to check in your child while driving to church. We will post details and a video when it is ready for use!


Once checked in, elementary students head to the sanctuary to participate in opening worship.. Students may sit with their parents or sit in the front pews with Countryside Kids Crew. Experiencing worship is important for this age group and there is developing research that indicates children are more likely to stay with their faith when they are older if they observe and participate in worship with a parent/guardian. After the children's message, all students will leave and head to their Sunday Small Groups. During small group time, students will follow a monthly theme where we engage in a Bible story through a variety of activities and crafts. Parents and guardians should plan to pick students up from these rooms at noon. (Room location TBD by January 10.)


SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT KINDERGARTEN AND SIXTH GRADE: 

We encourage kindergarten students to join us in small groups from 9:30-11:30 am, where we have a variety of options to meet their needs. If that time does not work with your schedule, kindergarten students are welcome to try the 11am small group out to see if it is a good fit for them.


We are currently in the process of transition 6th grade to our youth program. We encourage 6th grade students to join in and get to know other students their age in youth group, but always welcome those who feel more comfortable spending an additional year in the elementary programming.


If you have not completed a registration form for this year, please complete one prior to attending your first Wednesdays for Kids or Sunday Small Group.

Register for Countryside Kids HERE

wednesdays for Kids

Wednesdays for Kids, our mid-week programming, is available from 6-7:30pm for students in 1st-5th most weeks beginning after Labor Day and running through the first week of May. 

**ALL SMALL GROUPS AT COUNTRYSIDE ARE TAKING A 2 WEEK BREAK. WE LOOK FORWARD TO RESTARTING IN FEBRUARY! 


Students should be checked in upon arrival at our check in station, then head to our big gathering area in the upper level of the education wing. Please note that the technology in our check-in area is still being installed and updated, so there may be weeks where we will utilize a paper check in system.



At Wednesdays for Kids, we keep the kids moving with worship and camp-style group games from 6-6:20, followed by rotations of bells and Bible story from 6:20 -7:15. We will wrap up the evening with a few more camp-style games back in the Gathering Room (Room 210) where parents/guardians can pick their student up at 7:30pm. 


If you have not completed a registration form for this year, please complete one prior to attending your first Wednesdays for Kids or Sunday Small Group.

Register for Countryside Kids HERE

Health & Safety NOtes

Countryside UMC utilizes the Safe Gatherings program of certification with our staff and volunteer crew. Certified individuals have undergone a background check and taken an abuse prevention and detection training program online. We require having two unrelated adults present for all programming (or one adult, one youth), with the adults/youth at least 5 years older than they age they are serving. Additional training is provided on an ongoing basis to help volunteers and staff best meet the needs of the children of Countryside.


Below is an abbreviated list of our current expectations of all children, volunteers, and staff when it comes to health and safety in Children's Ministry. To read our full health and COVID-19 policies, check out our parent handbook. Please note that the handbook and our health policies are always a work in progress. Specifically, our COVID-19 policies will change to reflect the needs of the demographic we are serving in the context of our current community conditions.


All students, volunteers, and staff must be free from the following for at least 24 hours without medication before attending Countryside Kids Programming.

  •         Fever of 100°F or higher
  •         Vomiting or diarrhea
  •         Pink eye or other eye infections (red, crusty, OR watery discharge)
  •         Strep throat, sore throat
  •         Sneezing and/or coughing (if persistent and/or productive)
  •         Colored nasal discharge
  •         Open sores
  •         Lice
  •         Jaundice
  •         Any other communicable diseases


COVID-19 Protocols/Covenant (see handbook for details)

  • Masks are currently required for anyone over the age of 2.
  • Snacks currently are not being provided for regular programming. 
  • Students, volunteers and staff  will stay home if exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19. Please do not assume it is "just a cold" and get tested before coming to programming. Help us protect others who might be more vulnerable.
  • Students, volunteers and staff will stay home (regardless of vaccination status) if a family member tests positive. Everyone may return to programming if they had a negative test that same day, tested negative after 5 days, or 10 days have passed and you are still asymptomatic.
  • Students, volunteers and staff who test positive for COVID-19 will do one of the following prior to returning:
  • 1. Wait 10 days since symptoms first appeared AND be 24-hours with no fever (without the use of fever-reducing medications) AND have all other symptoms of COVID-19 be improving. 
  • 2. A shortened isolation time of 5 days is allowable IF the child/adult is showing no symptoms AND receives a negative COVID-19 test taken on that 5th day. Masking is required for an additional 5 days (if masking currently is not required).
  • Please notify the Children's Ministry Coordinator if you/your child develops symptoms (and later tests positive) or tests positive for COVID-19 within 48 hours of attending a program at Countryside. The coordinator will contact and adults and the parents of children who were present to make them aware of a possible exposure. Names will remain confidential. 


Countryside Kids promises:

  • All staff is required to be vaccinated for COVID-19. This includes our childcare staff. We also currently require that all volunteers working wtih children under the age of 5 be vaccinated, since this age group currently is not eligible for vaccination. Volunteers working with other age groups are highly encouraged to be vaccinated.
  • To utilize rooms that allow for social distancing and better ventilation. This might mean that we shift spaces in the middle of a program. We will always leave a note as to where we moved.
  • We will encourage good hygiene practices among kids.
  • We will work to properly sanitize all spaces that are used. Any toys that go in children's mouths will be immediately placed out of reach until they can be properly sanitized. Other surfaces will be wiped down frequently.
  • Contact parents or guardians if a child in our programming appears to be symptomatic.

Participating From Home

Unable to join us in person? Countryside and Countryside Kids offer a variety of options for growing in your faith at home!


Join live worship services at 9:30 or 11am every Sunday on our Facebook Page or YouTube Channel. Worship features a Children's Message with a weekly Family Faith Moment to give parents and guardians ideas of simple things they can do at home to share your faith and encourage your children.


Subscribe to our weekly Children's Ministry Newsletter, and you will receive links to each week's Bible story video. Want to take it a step further? There is a "lesson plan" for home that provides some simple activities you can do at home to add to the Bible story. The newsletter also features links to the weekly ParentCue, a description of that week's Bible story lesson and some tips on keeping the discussion going at home. For students in elementary school, links are provided to age-appropriate devotionals based on the week's Bible story.


Be sure to follow Countryside Kids on Facebook. We regularly post ideas and tips based on our Sunday Small Group and Wednesdays for Kids lessons.

celebrating milestones

More information to come!

Special Events & Family Ministry

More information to come!


Seasonal events include Christmas activities, Easter Egg Discovery, Vacation Bible Camp (VBC), end of VBC/summer family pool party, and presentation of Bibles to our third grade students.